You can see a lot in someone’s eyes. Joy, fear, peace, happiness, hunger, pain. Even after six weeks, I’m still processing my experiences from La Ceiba, Honduras…mostly when I look into the eyes of my own children.
The eyes on the left belong to my 7 year old daughter Anna. I’ve met very few girls as care free and in love with life as this little one. She spends her summer days playing with dolls, dressing up like a princess, riding her new purple bike, and playing with her friends. She’s getting a passion for fashion, so it’s not out of the ordinary to see her in five different outfits on any given day. And in the midst of all her carefree summer daydreaming, when Anna looks into the future the possibilities are endless. Actually, it’s involuntary. She doesn’t even question it, because she innately knows her future is full of limitless potential if she’s willing to pursue it. She has the creativity, the relationships, and the culture around her to make it happen. You can see it in her eyes.
The eyes on the right belong to Lourdess, a 7 year old girl we met in La Ceiba. She lives in a square, wooden-box of a house with cardboard for “drywall,” about the size of our family room, with her mom and dad (a rare blessing in this community) and a plethora of brothers and sisters. Dad is constantly struggling to find work in this depressed economy, but unlike so many other fathers from the neighborhood, has chosen (at least for now) not to leave his family for work in the USA. Lourdess loves to play, too. She had a doll, some crayons (she even gave us a picture she had drawn), and an old worn-out Disney princess dress. The same dress hangs in my Anna’s closet here in Indy.
But as I wrote from Honduras, the greatest struggle for me is not the lack of money or even the awful living conditions. It was in the eyes. The hope, the encouragement, the possibilities that impulsively fill the gaze of my little Anna aren’t even in the lexicon for Lourdess. In fact, when we asked many of these young children about their “sueños” (or dreams of the future), they required further explanation. Not only did they have no vision for the future, they had no context in which to even understand the question.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do with all this. Guilt is not a valid motivator, and God doesn’t use condemnation to push us in His direction. But I do know we all need to embrace the journey, to ask God what He wants from us. He never holds us accountable for what we don’t have, but He has high expectations for us to properly use what we do. That’s why we’re partnering with organizations like Mission of Mercy to try and do what we can to make a dent into the hopelessness we encountered in Honduras.
How do we fill both sets of eyes with the same limitless hope? Not hope for the American way of life which is found in a temporary, man-made culture; but the Hope of the Creator of life, the limitless God-possibilities woven into our very being and intended for eternity. The truth is, you don’t have to go to Honduras to find the injustice of hopelessness. Just look into the eyes all around you. Time for God’s people to right that wrong.